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Friday, June 14, 2024

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Friday, June 14, 2024

The Importance of Mutual Support

The self-help group movement has come a long way in aiding people, particularly in rural communities, seeking support to achieve their goals. Bertina Lyngdoh examines the nuances of this movement and the holistic way forward that will ultimately help those in need.

By Bertina Lyngdoh

There is a proverb that says, “God helps those who help themselves”; a noble thought. However, the question arises: how many of us follow or practice this?

To be self-sufficient or self-independent is a resolution we set for ourselves. It teaches us to be fearless, strong, and confident as we carve our own paths to success.

At present, a lack of self-reliance indicates that an individual fears the prospect of facing challenges. Further, expectations without taking a leap of faith do not help, and learning how to pave one’s way leads to a successful life.

The key to success is the choice toward self-reliance, a goal to begin with. For this, an individual requires to be self-motivated through the trials of life.

Ever since India got its freedom, the country has much to achieve in terms of economic crisis, poverty, and poor access to education, among others. This is particularly true in rural areas. Among the many problems that continue to plague us, issues related to women remain a cause of concern.

In 1991, 92 National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) branches started promoting the ‘self-help group’ (SHG) on a large scale – the real take-off point for the self-help group movement in the country. In 1993, the Reserve Bank of India also allowed self-help groups to open savings accounts in banks.

The aim was to boost and promote the movement on a mass scale.

Such groups are formed by informal groups of people coming together to address their common problems. It implies a focus on individuals helping each other. As a concept, it is the key to increasing or doubling the confidence of the people involved with a common desire to achieve goals. SHGs, therefore, enable individuals to not feel inferior to others.

Those who are benefited from this movement collectively grow and become courageous to face crises pertaining to development. Such groups promote mutual support in countering the same or similar problems faced. The main aim of any SHG is to bring the beneficiaries above the poverty line by promoting self-employment in various industries – crafts, agriculture, and the rights of women, including their safety and protection.

Therefore, it is on the government to cater to and fulfil their needs for progress and development.

While it is given that it is never easy to work as a team, commitment matters. The bigger picture in this context is the advancement of entire communities.

This message is also to the government to ensure that SHGs take into consideration, the needs of persons with disabilities – they should be appropriate and no member should be left behind – despite their disabilities or their rural or urban background, they should be promoted in every way.

Life is difficult, but with commitment and the assurance of support, the purpose of the SHG movement is easy to achieve. It goes a long way in cultivating independence and eventually instilling a sense of achievement where self-reliance is concerned. The way to reaching one’s goal becomes complete in every sense of the term.

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